Money is nice, titles are nice, but what makes work much more than work?
Meaning can be difficult to find. A sense of purpose, fulfillment, that feeling that we get when we truly make a difference. That is meaning.
I read this book once; ‘Outliers’ by Malcome Gladwell that embodies the beauty of meaningful work.
“When Borgenicht came home at night to his children, he may have been tired but he was his own boss. He was responsible for his own decisions and direction. His work was complex; it engaged his mind and imagination. And the longer he and Regina stayed up at night sewing aprons, the more money they made the next day on the streets.”
This section of the book illustrates a Jewish family who came to New York after fleeing from the Nazis in Europe. Despite such difficult circumstances, they found hope and meaning in starting their own garment business together. Gladwell provides a unique blueprint to understanding the success of such powerful people.
If you love your work, you feel clarity and happiness to all aspects of your life. If your work is meaningful, you are most likely to stick with it in the long run. All of this means you are more likely to be successful in the future.
Finding your meaning at work increases motivation, engagement, career development, job satisfaction, individual performance and personal fulfillment. When people don’t find meaning in their work, they can often find themselves disengaging or loosing focus. So, the question is, how can one create meaning at work, no matter what their job is like?
The answer is simple; you can create meaning in any position! If you want your work to be more than just a job and a positive force in your life, then these three points should help you out.
--Being in control of your own choices --
This gives you strength rather than having your choices being made for you which can be draining.
If you think about being a captain on a ship, you are fully aware of the direction you are heading in. This is the same for your career path. Taking on new roles at work, exploring new projects or even just taking responsibility for your own achievements is putting direction into your own hands. Becoming captain of your own career comes with great responsibility for your own success and rewards you with an appreciation and mindfulness of your hard work.
-- People want your time, money and effort to save theirs --
There will always be people who will want to take control of your life and make it go their way. This could be a boss making you work more or a friend who wants to make you party more.
These things aren't necessarily a negative, but it can lead to a situation where you lose control of your own life and end up back at the bottom. You need to use your meaningful work to pursue something that tests you, grow and learn.
-- Becoming stronger in life and work --
There are still many obstacles for you to overcome. This is what makes us grow and discover our passions. You need to challenge yourself for your achievements to be meaningful. You need to be able to look back down the mountain and see how far you have come. It would be immensely boring if we didn’t fail, get rejected or if we knew the outcome before we even started. The point is, if you find something that you love within your job, it will motivate you to strive to achieve a higher level which will bring you all sorts of experiences and rewards.
Positive feelings and satisfaction comes from creating a valuable product or service. In some cases, work, in general, can be rewarding. Vincent Van Gough sold only one painting throughout his life and died penniless. If he didn’t have that feeling of reward, then he probably would have quit painting early on. Luckily, you don’t have to be Van Gough to find meaning.
There is dignity and purpose in all work; however, you need to discover what is meaningful to you.
Whatever kind of work you are in, if you make your own choices, learn new skills, improve and know the connection between effort and reward, you have a much better chance of making work meaningful. And if you can find meaning in your work, you are well on your way to being your best.
-- By Lottie Foskett --